A Stab in the Dark

A Stab in the Dark

by Lawrence Block

Louis Pinell, the recently apprehended Icepick Prowler, freely admits to having slain seven young women nine years ago -- but be swears it was a copycat who killed Barbara Ettinger Matthew Scudder believes him. But the trail to Ettinger's true murderer is twisted, dark and dangerous...and even colder than the almost decade-old corpse the p.i. is determined to avenge.

  • Series: Matthew Scudder
  • Language: English
  • Category: Mystery
  • Rating: 4.01
  • Pages: 304
  • Publish Date: May 1st 2002 by Avon Books
  • Isbn10: 0380715740
  • Isbn13: 9780380715749

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Scudder is hired to investigate the case of Barbara Ettinger, classified as a victim of The Icepick Killer when she was murdered nine years ago.

In the fourth volume, Matthew Scudder struggles with his alcoholism and follows a trail nine years cold. Lawrence Block continues to wow me.

Matthew Scudder prowls the streets of New York City for the fourth time in A Stab in the Dark. London needs a "favor." Nine years earlier, his daughter, Barbara Ettinger, was viciously stabbed to death, apparently by a maniac who was known as the Ice Pick Killer and who claimed seven other victims. He also has an iron-clad alibi for the time Ettinger was murdered, given that he was in custody on that day. The cops claim there's nothing they can do, given the time that has elapsed, and so London walks into Armstrong's saloon and asks Scudder to take on the job. As in the first three books, it's great fun walking the streets of the big city with Matthew Scudder, although by this point one can't help but be increasingly concerned for his health and well-being.

These Matthew Scudder books aren't action-packed, sometimes they're even slow, but boy howdy, do I ever enjoy them! I like the picture you get of New York City in the '70s (At least with these first few books in the series. These Scudder books are fairly short after all.

A little bourbon would take the edge off the brandy rush. A little bourbon would take the edge off almost anything. He meets a woman this time that suffers from the same malady as Matt, but she has a name for it -- alcoholic. Like any good boozer who ain't ready to jump on that proverbial wagon and stay there, Matt doesn't see himself as having a problem.

Matt gets hired by a man whose daughter, Barbara, was supposedly killed by a serial killer with an icepick nine years earlier. This book is yet another stage in Matts relationship to the booze where he gets dangerously drunk without realizing it, and its the first time that he even starts to consider the idea that he may be an alcoholic, even if he quickly denies it.

Matthew Scudder é um ex-polícia, que abandonou a força policial por razões pessoais, agora detective particular, sem licença profissional, inteligente e extremamente perspicaz, que no seu passado de detective estivera envolvido na investigação inconclusiva - dos crimes do homem do picador de gelo. Passados nove anos é contratado pelo pai de Barbara Ettinger, Charles London, para investigar, novamente, a morte da sua filha; não sendo Louis Pinell o homem do picador de gelo quem é que a matou efectivamente. Matthew Scudder avança na investigação de um modo tradicional estamos nos anos 80 e já passaram nove anos depois da data do crime ou dos crimes -, fazendo perguntas, porta-a-porta, tomando notas, efectuando telefonemas em cabines telefónicas públicas, procurando relacionamentos passados, averiguando coincidências, umas prováveis outras improváveis, esgravatando pelas verdades e pelas mentiras, com minúcia e detalhe; numa narrativa em que não há tiros, nem existem mais crimes. Não é fácil lidarmos com os problemas pessoais e emocionais de Matthew Scudder; é durante a investigação que conhece Janice Corwin, uma elegante mulher, ex-proprietária da creche Happy Hours, com quem Barbara Ettinger trabalhara como uma auxiliar para ajudar com as crianças; que o obriga a enfrentar, sem subterfúgios, o problema do álcool, prefere o Bourbon ao Whisky, mas também aprecia Vodka ou Conhaque, com um desfecho inesperado.

I even got so far as starting on a bit of a tirade regarding the use of an icepick as a murder weapon (see below). Also, in case anyone else isnt up on their street knife knowledge, here are my animated findings as per gravity and/or butterfly knives: A Murderous Query: I have a lot of questions vis-à-vis the (literary) use of icepicks as murder weapons. So, are we just talking the long needley kind that look like awls?

The father of the eighth victim realizes he needs a new kind of closure and hires Scudder to investigate. Slowly, it dawned on me as I read that Scudder's drinking was out of control. It's interesting the way Block writes it; the murders capture the reader's attention while Scudder slowly slides off the bar stool in the background.

In this book, a woman named Janice Corwin he interviews for the case calls him out, while they are drinking: You know what we are, Matthew? But a kid asks him for a match after he leaves a bar and Scudder thinks he is being tailed and the guy intends to scare him off the case, so Scudder beats him up, takes his knife and money. Nine years ago, Scudder was given a commendation for killing one punk and paralyzing another who had robbed and murdered a guy, but in the process of shooting these two kids he accidentally kills a nine year old girl and hereafter, his life falls apart. Also nine years ago Scudder was working on a serial murder case with two other cops, wherein a guy, the Ice Pick Prowler, had killed 7 women. The same thing happens to one of Scudders former colleagues on the case; the serial killer just made him realize he couldnt do this kind of work anymore. This book, a Stab in the Dark, features Dostoevsky-level guilt and alcoholism and complicated relationships as Scudder drinks with the (also) drunk Janice.

He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories. The first time Lawrence Blocks name appeared in print was when his short story You Cant Lose was published in the February 1958 issue of Manhunt. The first book published under his own name was Mona (1961); it was reissued several times over the years, once as Sweet Slow Death. Hes also been honored with the Gumshoe Lifetime Achievement Award from Mystery Ink magazine and the Edward D.